You’ve poured over recruitment materials, you’ve toured a few campuses, and you’ve narrowed down your list to schools you want to apply to. How do you get in? There’s no magic trick that will get you into your school of choice. Admissions officers take a holistic look at everything you submit to determine whether you’ll succeed at their college or university. There are, however, some steps you can take to boost your chances of being admitted. Many schools are going to have set criteria as a baseline, such as a minimum GPA. But ultimately, they’re going to want to see a well-rounded student.

GPA

Check to see if the school you’re applying to has a minimum GPA. And if admission is more competitive, then your GPA can be a difference maker against your peers. Keep in mind that a lot of honors courses have weighted GPAs, which the school may or may not take into consideration.

Courses

It’s not all about the grades you get—but what were the classes in which you earned those grades? In some cases, a “B” in a hard class can be more valuable than an “A” in an easy class.

Trends

Colleges and universities aren’t looking at just the grades themselves. They’re thinking about the direction your grades are heading. Even if you didn’t quite get the grades you wanted earlier in your education, if admissions officers see they’re steadily improving, that shows that you’re setting yourself up well for transitioning to higher education.

Test Scores

Scores on the SAT or ACT are one of those areas where there won’t be an exact number you need, but it can help set you apart from other applicants. Some schools have become test-optional (including here at Ball State). This means that you can choose whether you submit your scores, depending on whether they accurately portray your academic strengths. If you do take the SAT or ACT, consider taking one of them at least twice.

Extracurricular Activities

Sports, clubs, jobs, volunteer work—show colleges that you know how to balance multiple priorities and have depth of experiences outside the classroom. Hint: Extra curricular activities are also a great way to explore your interests, which is helpful in figuring out a major that’s right for you or even your possible career choice.

Department or Program Requirements

Don’t let this one catch you off guard. You might meet a university’s admission criteria. But in some cases, specific majors or departments set additional standards you will need to meet. Auditions, interviews, portfolios, or just more stringent academic standards are all fairly common.

Already Thinking about Ball State?

If you’re already planning to apply to Ball State, review our admission requirements and see the instructions for completing our online application. If you’re still thinking about it, schedule a tour to get a true feel for our campus. Or you may request more information through our online form to learn more about the University.